Cal Ripken Jr.
RETIRED IRON MAN
The former Oriolesinfielder, who played in 2,632 consecutive games, hasn't played in the Orioles'last 1,146 games.
Dan Patrick: Canyou still dunk?
Cal Ripken Jr.:Probably not. I would only attempt it if someone bet me a lot of money.
DP: Did you playbasketball in high school?
CR: Freshman year,then I got sidetracked into soccer.
DP: Were youBeckham before Beckham?
CR: I could bendthe ball. Unintentionally, but I could bend it.
DP: If you hadgone to your dad—a baseball lifer—and said, "I'm going to go play soccer inEurope...."
CR: I'll tell youwhat—my dad thought that soccer was the best game ever invented. He playedsoccer up until he was 50 or so. He really enjoyed the game. Fought all thetime, which I think is why he enjoyed it.
DP: How manyyellow cards did he get?
CR: Oh, man, hejust went straight to red.
DP: There's talkthat Derek Jeter is losing his range at shortstop. They said that about youwhen you moved to third. What advice would you give Jeter?
CR: I relied onthe fact that I knew where the ball was going to be hit, and I positionedmyself accordingly. I had to be perfect with that. I could only go two or threesteps to my left or right. Ozzie Smith had the ability to play every hitterstraight up and still catch everything. I couldn't do that. Now, Derek hasalways relied on his physical side, similar to Ozzie. Maybe he needs to reallystart to focus on positioning.
DP: I was lookingat your IMDB bio. You were a consultant on The Fan, the Wesley Snipes--RobertDe Niro movie. Did you have contact with De Niro?
CR: I did. I hadlunch with him for about three hours in Beverly Hills.
DP: Who's moreintimidating: De Niro or Nolan Ryan on the mound?
DP: What did youask De Niro?
CR: I was justanswering his questions. He was asking about different cities' fans. De Nirowas very interested in Boston fans, how crazed they are, how personal they takeit.
DP: Did fans rootagainst the streak? Did anyone yell, "Break a leg, Cal!"?
CR: No, but somefans took offense to [the streak]. The funny part is, I was compared to LouGehrig. That's unfair, because Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest players toplay. I was pretty good, but I wasn't Lou Gehrig. And certainly a Yankees fanwith a rich history—especially some of the crazy ones—they wanted [the record]to stay with Gehrig. In '95 there were many different threats. I can't imaginewhy you'd get a death threat for going out there and trying to do what youthought your job was.
DP: Would yourather not know about a threat?
CR: Ideally, butone time there was one on the Internet that came [before a game] in Seattle,and all of a sudden there were policemen all around the dugout and I was askednot to take BP.
DP: Did you everconsider sitting?
CR: No. My way ofdealing with it and how I kept perspective was to think, It's crazy, it's morelike a prank call. It wasn't a funny prank, but I treated it that way.
Now Hear This
Listen to thepodcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Sean Millerdiscusses his new gig: Arizona's basketball coach.
2. Frank Caliendoimagines John Madden's life as a retiree.
Handicapping theNFL draft is no easier for the prospects than the experts. When USC QB MarkSanchez and I talked, we likened his predraft meetings to The Bachelor."I'm sure the bachelor is thinking every girl there is so cool except theones who cry," he said. "None of them cry on my visits." Ofpotential destinations, Sanchez said he has always been a fan of 49ers coachMike Singletary, and he likened his visit with the Redskins to a date with a"really hot" girl.
Which Manningbrother is a better quarterback? Who knows. You can make a good argument foreither. But which one is the better actor? Even Eli concedes it's Peyton."But I'm trying to catch up with him," he joked. "Once they see me,they'll know who the real talent is." Eli's got more of a sneaky, dry senseof humor than his brother; the one actor Eli said shares his traits: OwenWilson.
Line of theWeek
Lakers coach PhilJackson, on if he would take LeBron James as his first pick if he were buildinga team from scratch: "No, I'd take [Dwight] Howard. I would go with the bigguy. You have to go for... rebounding, defense and challenging shots."
THE FINE PRINT:Not all good news from the Indians 14-run, 13-hit second inning against theYankees. Third base coach Joel Skinner now needs rotator cuff surgery.
Hear Dan announcethe week's Got It Done Award every Monday.
ILLUSTRATION BY KAGAN MCLEOD
SIMON BRUTY (SANCHEZ)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (JACKSON)
JOE GIZA/REUTERS (RIPKEN)